The Alexandria Library's Special Collections division has a wide range of resources available to help you investigate the history of your home. Using both primary and secondary sources, you can uncover information about past owners, property values, alterations and improvements, and perhaps even find a photograph or two. This list of resources is designed to help you get started on your research; it tells you the type of information you are likely to find in a resource and how that resource is organized. The sources in this guide focus primarily on Old Town Alexandria.
In addition to the materials in this guide, the library holds several published works that focus on particular properties. Resources have been assembled on some of the better-known historical structures in Alexandria, and archaeological reports are available for other, lesser-known properties. A search of the library catalog for a particular address may turn up additional material.
From 1791-1846, the area that is now the City of Alexandria and Arlington County (then known as Alexandria County) was a part of Washington, D.C. There may be information about your house or its owners in D.C. records.
Areas that are now incorporated into the City of Alexandria were once part of Fairfax and Arlington Counties. There may also be material in the records of these two counties that will be useful to you.
The current street numbering system in Alexandria was not instituted until 1888. If your house history research takes you back beyond this point, the houses will be numbered differently than they are now.